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HINDI mahirap unawain ang alboroto ni Senate President Chiz Escudero at desisyon na suspendihin ang pagtatayo ng bagong gusali ng Senado. May itinakdang budget na P8.9 bilyon sa bagong gusali na itinatayo sa Bonifacio Global City (BGC) sa Taguig City. Ngunit hindi pa ito tapos sa ngayon. Maaaring umabot sa halos triple ang halaga ng gusali at umabot sa P23.8 bilyon, ayon sa balita.

May paliwanag si Nancy Binay sa biglang paglobo ng gastos sa bagong gusali. Ang P8.9 bilyon ay para sa gusali lamang at hindi kasama ang mga gastos sa loob nito. Hindi ito maaaring gamitin ng “bare,” o hubad sa gamit, aniya. Kailangan lagyan ang bagong gusali ng mga hagdanan, elevator, bintana, palingkuran, at iba pa upang magamit ito ng mga senador at kanilang staff sa kanilang trabaho, aniya.

Wala sanang problema sa sinabi ni Binay pero labis na napakalaki ng halaga. Hindi sapat ang bilang nga mga classroom sa buong bansa. Kung inilipat ang malaking halaga sa pagtugon sa pangangailan ng mga bagong classroom, wala sanang problem. Payag kami sa panawagan sa isang masusing auditing or kahit imbestigasyon sa bagong gusali. Kilala ang mga Binay sa mga overpriced buildings.


BAHAGI ito ng pangalawang tsapter ng aking aklat “KILL KILL KILL Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines; Crimes Against Humanity v. Rodrigo Duterte Et. Al.” Ipinaliwanag ko sa tsapter na ito ang ilang yugto ng karahasan at kalupitan sa pagpatay sa mga ilang biktima.

SARA CELIS NARRATIVE. Sara Celis, a mother in her 60s, has an interesting story. She lost two sons in a span of six months to summary executions. The first to fall was older son, Almol, who was shot dead by unidentified police officers on February 6, 2017. Almol, a blue collar worker who painted houses, went to the wake of a friend, a compadre, in another area not far from the Celis’s house, where he and his family lived too. By that time, many people in the community noticed the presence of a multitude of police officers, who milled in the wake’s area called “Itaas” because it is situated in the elevated portion of the community. When Almol reached the wake, a commotion suddenly occurred. Police officers chased an unidentified person. Alarmed by the commotion, Almol was said to have raised instinctively his hands, but police officers shot him for no apparent reason, according to mother Sara Celis. Almol suffered four gunshot wounds; one on the head and three on his breast. Police took him to hospital but he was declared “dead on arrival.” Celis claimed that Almol did not use drugs. He left a wife and five children. Sara Celis claimed she is now forced to share with Almol’s widow the burden to support her grandchildren. Almol was the sole family breadwinner.

Sara claimed that when Almol was brought to the hospital, four police officers were there asking questions about his son. An informant, whom she knew, noticed that they seemed to know beforehand that his son was to be brought there. Sara claimed that certain police officers asked her to name a “Joey Cadena,” a notorious underworld character in Caloocan City, as the assailant, who shot and killed her son. She did not know Joey Cadena from Adam but she was surprised to learn that five months after his son’s death, police killed Joey Cadena in an alleged shootout. Because he was dead, his son’s case died too. There was no follow-up probe whatsoever. Police officers, who were allegedly involved in his son’s death, went scot free.

Six months later, it was the turn of younger son Dickie to fall. He was alighting from a tricycle after buying food from the market, when several police officers surrounded and took him for a purported routine check at the police station. “Hihiramin lang namin ang anak mo (We’ll borrow your son),” a police officer told the mother. Dickie was killed inside the police station, according to Sara Celis, citing witnesses, who were jailed at the station. She could not say if her son was a drug pusher or user, although she knew their community place teemed with numerous drug users and pushers. Police officers took Dickie in a police vehicle to the station. “Nilagyan ng pulis ng itim na tela sa ulo si Dickie at saka dinala sa presinto (Police put a black cloth on Dickie’s head as he was brought to the station),” Dickie’s sister said.

Worried after her son did not go home, Sara Celis first went to the barangay hall by midnight and then to the police station but to no avail. By 4 am, she received a text message from her daughter that Dickie was already dead. She could not do anything. Her entire family was at a loss on what to do next. She barely knew the family’s rights in these two incidents of summary executions. Some friends in the community later advised her to bring the two incidents before the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), which later initiated the Rise Up for Life and for Rights, an NGO for the families of EJK victims. By that time, the NUPL was initiating information to bring to the ICC.

Sara said her residence area was often subject to casing by unidentified police officers from Bagong Silang Phase One Police Station. They were not in uniform, although they were known in the barangay. “Dati takot ako, ngayon hindi. Paano mabibigyan ng hustisya ang mga pinatay kung takot ka rin? (Before, I was afraid but not now. How the victims would be given justice if I am afraid too)?” she said rhetorically. The separate deaths of her two sons were never carried by traditional media although she is in possession of the police reports and death certificates, copies of which she showed during the interview.

BRENDA VICTORIO NARRATIVE. Brenda Victorio admitted that her son was a small drug dealer. On October 9, 2016, an unidentified police officer, who knew his son’s involvement in illegal drug trade in the North Caloocan City area, asked him to give him sachets of shabu worth P200. The police officer asked him to bring the sachets in the City Hall of North Caloocan City because they were supposed to be used as “planted evidence” on an Oplan Tokhang victim. His son Roderick Nulud agreed to the request but not without tagging along Roderick’s son, Raymond John, 19. On that day, Victorio received a text message from an acquaintance asking her to go to Zapote Road, a street near the City Hall. She saw her son and grandson laying prostrate on the ground, both dead. Witnesses narrated that they saw motorcycle-riding men chasing Roderick and Raymond John. They were shot dead. “Parang shooting sa pelikula (It was like shooting scenes in a movie)” they said. Their murder happened in broad daylight. Police treated the people in the area to a chase and shoot scene

According to Victorio, she never denied that her son was a drug pusher. He was jobless and occasionally worked as a jeep barker to earn a living. As a jeep barker, he mingled with fellow drug users and pushers. Because the income was good, he focused on being a pusher. The sachets of shabu worth P200 was to be used as planted evidence on a pusher “to make it appear he was big time” But it indeed led to his own murder. Victorio said. They could not do anything because his son was involved in the sdrug trade. They tried to go to Mayor Oscar Malapitan to ask for whatever help he could provide, but the local official took distance from them. He shunned them. It is true that local officials do not help the families of the EJK victims, she said. SOCO operatives told them to claim from a certain funeral parlor the bodies of his son and grandson. Victorio said she was surprised when its manager asked P50,000 for the two bodies. The amount covered the expenses for the coffins and funeral services, the manager told her. It took them two weeks to raise P50,000 to claim their bodies.

According to Victorio, her son was twice arrested for drug pushing. Each time he was arrested, police asked P20,000 for his freedom. His son had an employer in the drug trade and that his presence explained his release. His employer was allegedly a resident in the district of Tala in North Caloocan City. Because his son resided in her house and her house was used for drug pushing, Brenda was earlier arrested. Police asked P50,000 to set her free, but because she haggled, she was set free after she gave P7,000, although she claimed she was not in any way involved in drug pushing. His grandson was in school and he was not engaged in drug pushing either. The other grandson is married and his wife has an uncle, who was one of the alleged killers of his son. She has endorsed his son’s murder to Rise Up for inclusion in the information. (Itutuloy)